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–> A midday take on what’s happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*
*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha–breaks down crying hysterically.
The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump insists he can tweet about cases after Barr complains | Stone case brings rare break between AG, Trump | DOJ won’t charge McCabe | Sanders surges to 10-point lead in national poll | South Carolina becomes must-win for Biden | Super Tuesday looms large for 2020 Dems | Coronavirus death toll spikes in China | Pentagon prepping for potential pandemic | Trump heading to Mar-a-Lago for long weekend
IN THE WHITE HOUSE
It’s my party, and I’ll tweet if I want to:
President Trump argued that he has “the legal right” to weigh in on the Justice Department’s handling of criminal cases after Attorney General William Barr urged him not to tweet. http://bit.ly/2vzem3I
Trump tweeted: “‘The President has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.’ A.G. Barr This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!” http://bit.ly/31S9hQa
WHAT SPARKED THIS:
In an interview with ABC News, Barr said Trump never asked him to do anything in a criminal case, but also said Trump’s tweeting makes it “impossible for me to do my job.” Trump on Twitter had criticized the initial sentencing recommendation for his former adviser Roger Stone. The Justice Department reversed course and asked a judge for a “far less” sentence than the seven to nine years they first sought but claimed Trump’s criticism did not impact the decision. http://bit.ly/37uMuuW
Watch Barr’s full explanation: http://bit.ly/2Spw9DE
Just now — no charges for Andrew McCabe:
Via The New York Times’s Adam Goldman, former FBI Director Andrew McCabe will not be charged in an investigation about whether he lied to investigators. https://nyti.ms/3bzlOwB
Keep in mind: “The president’s relentless criticism of the Justice Department likely complicated the prosecution of Mr. McCabe. His supporters viewed the investigation as politically motivated and inextricably tainted by Mr. Trump’s relentless attacks.”
This settles it: This case has been up in the air for nearly two years (!)
It’s Friday. Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to [email protected] — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.
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PROGRAMMING NOTE: The 12:30 Report will be off from Monday through Wednesday next week. We will return on Thursday. Have a great weekend!
ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL
New poll — it’s Bernie’s world, we’re just living in it:
Sanders: 29 percent support, up 3 points since the New Hampshire primary
Former Vice President Joe Biden: 19 percent, down 3 points since N.H.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg: 18 percent
Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg: 11 percent
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.): 10 percent
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.): 5 percent
The full poll: http://bit.ly/31Uxrtg
MEANWHILE IN FLORIDA:
Bloomberg is leading a new St. Pete Polls survey. http://bit.ly/2HqHlK2
WHY SANDERS IS FACING RARE UNION OPPOSITION IN NEVADA:
The most Super of Tuesdays:
Via The Hill’s Niall Stanage, even as candidates campaign in Nevada and South Carolina, Super Tuesday is looming large over the Democratic presidential candidates. http://bit.ly/2tTpxDY
Why: Fourteen states vote on Super Tuesday, including California with 415 delegates and Texas with 228 delegates.
How many delegates are up for grabs on Super Tuesday: 1,357 (!)
Oh and!: Super Tuesday will be the first time that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be on a ballot.
Breakdown of what to keep your eye on: http://bit.ly/2tTpxDY
HOW SOUTH CAROLINA HAS BECOME A MUST-WIN FOR JOE BIDEN:
Via The Hill’s Max Greenwood: http://bit.ly/38wTwkg
INTERESTING OP-ED — ‘WILL BLOOMBERG BUZZ SURVIVE CONTACT WITH VOTERS?:
Via The Washington Examiner’s Byron York: https://washex.am/37xr9kR
NEWS THIS MORNING
Coronavirus cases spike:
Via The Associated Press’s Ken Moritsugu, China’s National Health Commission reported another 5,090 new cases of the coronavirus and 121 new deaths in China. http://bit.ly/2vuvmbw
For context: “There are now 63,851 confirmed cases in mainland China, of which 1,380 have died.”
Keep in mind about the virus numbers: “The acceleration in the number of cases does not necessarily represent a sudden surge in new infections of the virus that causes COVID-19 as much as a revised methodology.”
“Experts also saw it as a reflection of a chaotic crush of people seeking treatment and the struggle to keep up with a backlog of untested samples in Hubei province and its capital city, Wuhan, where the disease first surfaced in December.”
The U.S. is getting its ducks in a row:
Details: “U.S. Northern Command said Wednesday it has directed the Joint Staff Feb. 1 to commence ‘prudent planning’ in their assigned role synchronizing the department’s plans for pandemic flu and disease. But in no way ‘does the planning indicate a greater likelihood of an event developing. As military professionals, planning for a range of contingencies is something we owe the American people,’ Navy Lt. Cmdr. Mike Hatfield said.”
Someone is holding a sign that says “endorse Bernie already” in the audience. pic.twitter.com/y4Cyai1OoU
— Daniella Díaz (@DaniellaMicaela) February 14, 2020
Check out the scoreboard: Here’s a photo: http://bit.ly/2SrDxhN
This took me a minute to see, but wow:
omg look at this studio in San Francisco
THE BED FALLS FROM THE CEILING pic.twitter.com/WeGYfr22Wb
— Teddy Schleifer (@teddyschleifer) February 14, 2020
By the way, this studio is renting for $3,300 a month.
More photos of the apartment: http://bit.ly/38EtueM
The House and Senate are out. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C. Trump leaves for his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida later today.
11 a.m. EST: Vice President Pence speaks at the National Association of Manufacturers Winter 2020 Board of Directors Meeting.
11:45 a.m. EST: President Trump received an intelligence briefing.
2:30 p.m. EST: President Trump speaks to National Border Patrol Council members.
4 p.m. EST: President Trump and first lady Melania Trump leave for the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla.
Feb. 21: The Senate returns. The Senate’s full schedule: http://bit.ly/37p0jLq
WHAT TO WATCH
Thursday: Warren held a town hall in Arlington, Va. Livestream: https://cs.pn/31RwjXA
NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF…
Today is National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day. Makes sense.
And to get your weekend off to the right start, here’s an astronaut reuniting with her dog after a year in space: http://bit.ly/2vvH99u
(h/t The Hill’s Niall Stanage)